Happy Friday, Friends! I have a special treat for you today, an interview with the indomitable Megan Cyrulewski. I say indomitable and mean it in every sense of the word. She recently posted the first chapter of her book, Who Am I, on her blog. When you read it, you’ll get it :)
I confess, I’ve conned Megan into sharing an advanced copy of her book with me when they’re available, so I’ll review that for you here, too. After slowly reading the delicious first chapter, I’m pining to know the rest of the story.
But for now, without further adieu,
What is your name? And while we’re on the subject, do you have any nicknames and where did they come from?
Megan Cyrulewski. Friends call me Meg. My dad calls me Meggie, which was my childhood nickname. Only my dad can get away with calling me that!
In your book’s teaser, you mention your daughter. How old is she and what’s her name? How did you choose her name?
Madelyne Rose was born on 12/2/10 so she is a little bit more than 3-years-old. Her name comes from two different places: Madelyne from the book (and mini-series) North and South and Rose was my grandmother’s name. She passed away in 2006.
Your other “baby” must be this new book we can’t wait to read. What is the title and how did you come up with it?
My new book is a memoir called, Who Am I? I came up with the title because in the middle of this traumatic period in my life, one day my dad called me Meggie. I remember thinking to myself, I’m not Meggie anymore. Who am I?
I know your book is your memoir, what convinced you to write your story? What sets your story apart from other life-stories?
I love reading about adversity and the courage people have to rise above. I was inspired by the book Her by Christina Parravani (who is actually a FB friend now…it’s totally a celebrity moment for me!) Her words were just so poetic and harsh at the same time. It’s as though I could feel Christina’s pain reaching out of the pages. I thought that if I could write my own story half as good as she wrote hers, I hope to inspire people too.
I think what makes my story so different is that there was just so much going on in my life in a 2-year span: a new baby, divorce, postpartum depression, hospital stays, child custody battle, domestic violence, and much more all while I was in Law School. To this day, I’m really not sure how I managed to survive that time period.
Is there a message or moral that you want your readers to take away?
There are two very important messages I want to get across: First, domestic violence is not just physical. It comes in all forms. There was some physical violence in my marriage (and after) but my ex-husband emotionally abused me, which is just as bad as physical violence. To be told over and over again that I am fat, lazy, ugly, a joke, etc. made me feel suicidal because if the person I love feels this way about me, then others must think the same thing. It took a lot of therapy to help me realize that I am worthy again. Second, postpartum depression is not about wanting to hurt your kids. (i.e. Andrea Yates.) That is a stereotype that I am very passionate about changing. I felt that I wasn’t a good enough mother for my child and therefore, I wanted to kill myself because I felt that my daughter deserved better than me. It is an awful feeling.
What was your writing process? Did you outline your book first or just let it develop as you went? Did the book turn out as you expect it or take on a life of its own?
My wonderful brilliant attorney (who is like a second father to me) advised me to keep a log of everything my ex-husband did right after I filed for divorce. So when I was ready to write my book two years later, I sort of had an outline already.
There are parts of the book that were extremely hard to write. I didn’t like reliving some of the events that had happened. Those were the days I had to walk away from the computer. While I was writing the book, I was finally able to write my thoughts down on paper. There were a lot of times I wanted to say something to my ex-husband and his new wife, but I couldn’t. Now, I can…and I did.
What was the editing process like?
I have to admit that I am not as good at grammar as I thought! My book has gone through the first round of edits and it amazed me at how many grammar mistakes I had made. Thank God for editors! Authors can’t live without them!
How did you find your publisher, Black Opal Books?
To find an agent or a publisher is extremely tough. It is a very subjective industry so if you don’t have thick skin, you aren’t going to make it. I sent out tons of queries and got back 33 rejections before Black Opal Books offered me a contract. I will forever be grateful that they took a chance on me and my story. They are a wonderful publishing company and all of us BOB authors feel more like family than clients.
Do you have any more books “in the works”?
I am working on my first book of fiction, a legal thriller. (Think John Grisham.) I have to use that law degree for something, right?! I’ve only told the plot to one person and the moment her jaw dropped and she gasped at the big “twist,” I knew I had a good story. Now all I have to do is add more hours to the day so I can finish writing it!
What hobbies do you have or what things do you do when you’re not writing or working?
Most of my free time is spent with Madelyne. It’s been rough this winter because of the polar vortex here in Michigan. Right now Madelyne takes dance and gymnastics classes. But as soon as it starts to get warm, we love being outside. I take her to the zoo almost every Sunday in the summer. There is nothing I love more in this world than being with Madelyne. My second most favorite thing is my girl’s nights! I have to have non-mommy time and hang with my girls! (And by hang, I mean put on some yoga pants, head over to someone’s house, drink some wine and eat some chocolate. Party on.)
And Just a Few Fun Ones:
Coffee or Tea – COFFEE!!! Must have coffee every morning!
Night owl or early mornings?
Night owl for sure. But Madelyne is a morning person, so I really don’t remember the last time I’ve slept past 6:30 AM.
Dogs or cats?
Cats. At one point, my ex and I had 5 cats. Now I have 3.
Sweet or salty?
Salty. I’m addicted to chips.
Beach or Mountains?
Beach! I’ve been to Hawaii twice and want to go back. Bora Bora is on my bucket list. I just need someone to go with me! Any single men reading this?? ;)
Thank you, Megan Cyruleski, for visiting Predatory Lies today. I truly am pining to read your book! And I’m grateful for the time you took to interview me as well. Your passion to support other authors makes you one-of-a-kind and a treasure!